Skip to contentSkip to site navigation

Ceremony and reception for Michael V. Pisani on Sunday, September 22

Dear all,

Please join Vassar College and the Music Department in celebrating the remarkable life of Michael V. Pisani through music and stories on Sunday, September 22, 2019. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m., in Skinner Hall with a reception to follow in the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences. All are welcome to attend.

A beloved professor and former chair of the music department at Vassar, Pisani of Poughkeepsie, New York, passed away on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. An internationally-noted author, professor, and music scholar, he was 65. Pisani was a graduate of Andrean High School, Class of 1972, received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Oberlin College, and earned a doctoral degree in musicology from the Eastman School of Music. He was honored at Vassar with an endowed chair and taught courses on general music history, opera, and film music. Among his many publications are the books “Imagining Native America in Music,” which received the prestigious ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 2006, and “Music for the Melodramatic Theatre.” He also published numerous articles and book chapters on opera and film music, including a chapter in “The Oxford Handbook to Film Music” and another, soon to be published, in the “Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama.”

Pisani was an accomplished pianist, conductor, and accordion player. He worked for several major opera companies in the 1980s, among them Houston Grand Opera, the Seattle Opera Wagner Festival, and Opera Company of Boston. He accompanied rehearsals for many famous opera singers and stage directors and conducted performances of Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” and Handel’s “Xerxes” at the Skylight Opera in Milwaukee. He was also invited by the great American composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, to prepare the casts for the triple premiere of his opera “A Quiet Place” for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., La Scala in Italy, and the Vienna State Opera.

Pisani is survived by his father, Mario; his sisters, Denise and Linda; his friend, Christopher; his nieces, Jennifer and Katherine; his nephew, Josh; his great-niece and nephew, Keira and Biagio; his cousins in Milan, Italy, and many other loved family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dolores.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
@EHBVassar